Most people will experience headaches during their lives. But for some, headaches are so severe that their vision may blur, and their pain is accompanied by nausea, dizziness, and more. These headaches may be something more serious—migraines. And unfortunately, effective migraine relief can sometimes be difficult to come by.
So, what’s the difference between a headache and a migraine? Headaches are the resulting pain in the head or face from allergies, eye strain, hunger, or another secondary cause. Migraines are a neurological disease involving chemicals and nerve pathways that can result in severe head pain.
What is a headache?
When the pain-sensitive features in the head dysfunction or become overactive, you may develop pain in the head or face. These are headaches, and are usually treatable with over-the-counter medication and rest.
There are hundreds of types of headaches, but some of the most typical are:
• Tension. The most common type of headache, they tend to spread across both sides of the head.
• Sinus. Caused by swelling in the sinus cavities, sinus headaches are usually felt behind the cheeks, eyes, and nose.
• Cluster. These usually occur frequently, or in clusters, and can occur several times per day. They’re caused by dilation in the brain’s blood vessels from serotonin and histamines.
Around 96 percent of people will experience a headache in their lives, including adults, teens, and children. About 10 percent of all headaches can be classified as migraines.
How is a migraine different?
Migraines are more than just severe headaches. During a migraine, blood flow in the brain changes, which can cause additional symptoms including auras, sensory disturbances, and more. Sometimes, someone suffering from a migraine won’t feel any head pain at all.
There are four common stages of a migraine:
• Prodrome. Mood swings, food cravings, and neck stiffness days or hours before a migraine.
• Aura. Sensory disturbances, like vision, touch, and speech difficulty.
• Headache. Mild to debilitating pain that can be exacerbated by light, smells, and sound.
• Postdomal. When the pain has subsided and a person feels generally unwell, exhausted, and even confused.
Women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men. And while there are no cures, there are migraine medications which can lesson symptoms.
Over-the-counter medications are the most common way to relieve migraine pain. Those who suffer moderate to severe migraines on a regular basis are sometimes prescribed medication to treat the source of the pain, like antidepressants, Botox injections, and blood pressure medications.
Lifestyle changes like avoiding foods that can trigger migraines, getting better sleep, and exercising regularly can also help.
For those who don’t find relief with oral medications and injections, migraine relief can be achieved with an infusible biologic. Vyepti migraine treatment is the first and only migraine-prevention medication approved for adults by the FDA for infusion therapy. A Vyepti infusion is administered in an infusion center approximately every three months and has been shown to help decrease the frequency of migraines.
If you’re interested in infusion therapy for chronic migraine relief, have your doctor submit a referral to FlexCare. We would love to help you have more migraine-free days.